My article last week about ‘The importance of being personal‘ was well received so I thought I would follow up with a post about how to give your site personal appeal.
As mentioned in my previous article, it is important to always make a member feel individually valued – using their name is a great start. Many sites I come across though, seem a little impersonal and sterile – because the staff and owner(s) choose not to make themselves appeal on a personal level.
Individuality and personability
How many forums and blogs have you come across where the owner uses the default name ‘admin’? Hardly a personal approach, is it? The simplest and easiest way of adding personal appeal to your site is to ensure that both yourself and your staff come across as just another member of the community.
Using names like ‘admin’ and ‘moderator’ distinguishes yourself from the rest of your community unnecessarily. Sure, you want your members to know that you are the owner or a moderator so they know who to approach if they have any problems – but this can be done through the use of ranks, or by distinguishing your status through colour or icons.
People like to interact with people
Go ahead and use your real name, or at least an approachable one. I am sure you will notice the difference. People like to interact with people. It is all too easy to forget that each individual in an online community is a real person. By using real names, you help remind people of this and encourage further interaction.
People like to interact with people who are similar to them
By using your own name, you are immediately perceived as being ‘the same’ as all other members of your community. People like to interact and talk to people who are similar to them – if your name is ‘admin’ you are immediately tagged as someone who is different.
This may be OK if your community is running perfectly without you but if you really want to be involved in getting your community buzzing this is an unnecessary barrier.
Small changes can reap large rewards
This article further outlines how seemingly small changes can make a huge difference to your online community. Are you using the default ‘admin’ username? Why not change it and see how it affects your interaction within your community?
Do you think impersonal names affect the interaction between staff and other community members? Do you think the choice of name is irrelevant? Share your opinion by leaving a comment below.